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July 21, 2016

AQAP Releases Issue 2 of Inspire Guide After Nice Attack

Inspire Guide Nice Attack Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

Cover image of the Inspire Guide

Al Malahem media, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s pro­pa­ganda wing, released a new pamphlet examining the details of the July 14 attack in Nice, France, and encouraging copy-cat attacks.

The pamphlet is the second in a series called “Inspire Guides,” which state that they are designed to  “[pro­vide] guid­ance to the Lone Mujahid (fighter)” and to “follow-up, guide, put right and cor­rect Lone Jihad oper­a­tions in order to real­ize the best mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal results that serve the gen­eral policy of the Mujahidin (fight­ers) in our war with America.”

The first Inspire Guide was released in the aftermath of the June 12 shooting in Orlando, and provided tips for amplifying Al Qaeda’s message and increasing casualties in copycat attacks.

The new guide was released on Telegram on July 12. It proclaimed that Muhammad Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who conducted the attack, “executed the operation in its totality and perfection,” and suggested only that extremists seeking to replicate it refer to Inspire magazine, AQAP’s English-language propaganda magazine, for tips on increasing the lethality of truck attacks.

The speed with which the Inspire Guide was released after the Orlando and Nice attacks stands in contrast to the irregularity of Inspire magazine, which has produced a sporadic 15 issues since it was first published online in 2010. Unlike the magazine, however, both issues of Inspire Guide have consisted of only a few pages on one subject, without any graphics or attempts at sophisticated design.

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July 15, 2016

Terrorist Propaganda Encourages Attacks With Common Items

The use of a vehicle to kill civilians in yesterday’s apparent terror attack in Nice, France, serves as a reminder of how terrorist groups and their supporters encourage their adherents to carry out attacks with common resources.

In addition to run-over style attacks, terrorists have encouraged the use of common items such as household products to make bombs, as well as various other tactics in their online magazines, speeches and other propaganda.

Image encouraging car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pocketbook propaganda

Image encouraging car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pocketbook propaganda

The following list provides a sampling of some of the tactics promoted by foreign terrorist organizations in the last several years. Notably, a number of the suggestions are repeated by different groups, and the use of vehicles in attacks is a common theme.


  • The 14th issue of Dabiq, ISIS’s English-language propaganda magazine, called on supporters to assassinate prominent Muslim leaders in the U.S. and U.K. for not supporting ISIS, “with the resources available…(knives, guns, explosives, etc.).”
  • In a January 2015 speech, al Adnani similarly called for attacks, “whether with an explo­sive device, a bul­let, a knife, a car, a rock or even a boot or a fist.”
  • An ISIS video released in December 2014 stated, “There are weapons and cars avail­able and tar­gets ready to be hit. Even poi­son is avail­able, so poi­son the water and food of at least one of the ene­mies of Allah. Kill them and spit in their faces and run over them with your cars.”
  • In a September 2014 speech that was widely translated and shared over social media, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani called for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks against civilians, and provided a number of suggestions for doing so, including by running them over. He stated: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bul­let, then sin­gle out the dis­be­liev­ing Amer­i­can, French­man, or any of his allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaugh­ter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poi­son him…. If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or busi­ness. Or destroy his crops.”

Al Qaeda:

  • Cover of the first issue of Inspire, AQAP's English-language magazine

    The first issue of Inspire provided directions to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

    Following the terror attack in Orlando, a June 2016 publication released by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) provided advice for making copycat attacks more lethal and maximizing their propaganda value.

  • In May 2016, the 15th issue of Inspire magazine, AQAP’s English-language propaganda magazine’s provided sug­ges­tions for mak­ing bombs using readily available items to con­duct the assas­si­na­tions, includ­ing pack­age bombs, small bombs under cars, and bombs that can be attached to a doorframe.
  • In March 2014, the 12th issue of Inspire magazine provides instructions for assembling car bombs out of “easily available” materials.
  • In 2013, Inspire magazine, AQAP’s English-language propaganda magazine, issued a companion publication titled the “Mujahid Pocketbook,” which aggregated various attack suggestions promoted in Inspire and provided some additional suggestions as well. Plot ideas included torching parked vehicles, causing road accidents, starting forest fires, using vehicles to run over civilians, and building bombs.
  • In October 2010, second issue of Inspire magazine suggested using a modified vehicle to run over civilians and provided instructions on building an explosive device.
  • The first issue of Inspire magazine, released in July 2010, provided instructions for building a pressure cooker bomb, which can be made out of common household items.

Other terrorist organizations and their supporters have been similarly active in promoting various specific attack suggestions. This has been particularly clear among Palestinian terrorist organizations and their supporters, who have promoted suggestions that parallel those advocated by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Terrorist supporters sometimes promote their own ideas for nontraditional attacks online as well. In a recent example, a discussion on a pro-ISIS forum that ran between June and July 2016 included a number of terror attack suggestions from forum users, some of which had been suggested by official terrorist propaganda as well. Among them were setting forest fires and calling in false reports of bombs to disrupt the operations of emergency services

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May 19, 2016

Latest Issue of Inspire Magazine Encourages Small Scale Attacks

Inspire 15 cover image

Inspire 15

The 15th issue of InspireAl Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine, released on May 14, provides readers with instructions for murdering “the intelligentsia, economic and influential personalities of America.” Such attacks, claims the magazine, are “easy options that do not require huge efforts or man power, but the result is parallel to the big operations or even more.”

This incitement to kill individuals is the same attack strategy that was provided in the 14th issue of Inspire magazine (released in September 2015), but the 15th issue provides additional suggestions for making bombs to conduct the assassinations, including package bombs, small bombs under cars, and bombs that can be attached to a doorframe.

As in pre­vi­ous issues of Inspire, the mag­a­zine uses anti-Semitism and resentment of Israel to mobi­lize the anger and sup­port needed to encour­age indi­vid­u­als to sus­tain AQAP and per­pe­trate attacks. ADL pub­lished an updated report on anti-Semitism in Islamic extrem­ist propaganda in 2015.

This exploitation of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment was particularly evident in the article, “O Knife Revolution, Head Toward America.” In it, AQAP strives to export the current mode of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel to the U.S. by asking, “Where are the zealous Muslims in America, who clearly see their Muslim brothers in Palestine being tortured? It is because of this painful torture, that the blessed Knife Uprising has surfaced. Then way is it that you just sit and wait, with your hands tied up?”

That article further utilizes anti-Semitism to encourage attacks against the U.S. “It is no secret that the first guardian, supporter, and greatest inciter to the Jews are the Americans,” it states. It goes on to directly threaten Jews, asking “How many Jews are there in America, Europe and other kufr (apostate) countries? So take matters in hand and follow the advice of your Prophet, if any of you gets hold of a Jew anywhere, let him finish him off.”

An article in Inspire 15 Encourages Domestic Attacks

An article in Inspire 15 encourages knife attacks in the U.S. modeled after attacks undertaken by Palestinians in Israel.

Similarly, the article, “Let us Unite for Palestine,” clearly attempts to transfer anger against Israel to attacks against the U.S. by asserting “The liberation of Jerusalem…requires…two things: Firstly: Striking the West…. Secondly: Establishing a Muslim state in Egypt and the Levant.” AQAP is more interested in attacking the West and securing a foothold in Egypt and Syria than in attacking Israel, so the magazine tries to convince its supporters that these goals are inherently a part of destroying the State of Israel.

Yet another article, “Inside Obama’s Rationality,” suggests a conspiracy theory of Jewish influence in American politics: “everyone competes in pleasing the Jews, even the so-called rational Presidents compete with each other in proving who is the most biased, irrational, partisan president when it comes to supporting the Jews.”

Other articles directly promote any sort of lone wolf attacks against the U.S., while striving to ensure that Al Qaeda can receive credit for individual actions. The article “Jihad Upon Clear Insight” states “one can benefit from the publication of As-Sahab foundation (an Al Qaeda media foundation)…It explains the importance of lone jihad and its impact upon the enemy…. And he can also benefit from Inspire Magazine. A Lone Mujahid and others should know that this knowledge is not less important than the science of weaponry and how to use them, how to make explosives and charges.”

As noted, the cover article, “Professional Assassinations,” provides instructions for surveilling influential individuals and then building bombs to murder them.

Inspire is per­haps the most noto­ri­ous Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda vehi­cle. It has played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of mul­ti­ple domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Tsar­naev broth­ers of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing), Jose Pimentel, who attempted a bomb­ing in New York, and Abdel Daoud, who attempted a bomb­ing in Chicago.


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